Statistical Physics and Fungal Growth

Condensed Matter lunchtime seminar

Statistical Physics and Fungal Growth

  • Event time: 1:00pm
  • Event date: 19th June 2006
  • Speaker: Kate Sugden (University of Edinburgh)
  • Location: Room 2511,

Event details

Fungi are of great interest to humans not only in their capacity as edible mushrooms, but also as important sources of biochemical products including antibiotics. They are also useful model organisms for genetic studies and are prominent pathogens, responsible for a large fraction of annual world crop spoilage.

This work involves studying the growth of filamentous fungi in the context of statistical physics. Filamentous fungi grow by the polarised extension of thread-like hyphae, which make up the body of a fungus. We propose a simple model, based upon a well studied model of statistical physics, the totally asymmetric simple exclusion process, to describe the movement of mass along a hypha and its subsequent growth. The mean-field equations for the model are analysed, leading to a phase diagram of steady state behaviour, which we compare to Monte Carlo simulations and discuss in terms of biological observations.

This is a weekly series of informal talks given primarily by members of the soft condensed matter and statistical mechanics groups, but is also open to members of other groups and external visitors. The aim of the series is to promote discussion and learning of various topics at a level suitable to the broad background of the group. Everyone is welcome to attend..

Find out more about Condensed Matter lunchtime seminars.